Last update on March 11, 2019

You can do pretty much anything on your smartphone these days. Among the latest trends is using mobile apps to do your shopping, pay bills or send money to friends. With many banks, all your banking needs are right there, accessible at the swipe of a finger.

Mobile banking has evolved a lot in the past few years, not only technologically but also culturally, and there is a clear shift towards a cashless society. Some banks, such as bunq (a Dutch mobile-only bank that launched in 2015), are exclusively available via mobile phone banking apps.


With bunq, you can open your full bank accounts in just five minutes using nothing more than your mobile phone. You get real-time access to your account, instant payments and dedicated customer support available in English, Dutch, German, Italian and Spanish. 

The rising trend in mobile banking and mobile payments

Companies have noticed that people spend a lot of time on their mobile phones and are taking advantage of the advances in technology. Over the past three to four years, there has been a rapid increase in the number of apps available and the number of people using them. It’s predicted that there will be around $503 billion in mobile payments by 2020. In the UK, mobile phone banking is already the most popular way to bank; in the Netherlands, mobile payments and mobile banking have also grown extremely popular.

There are mobile payment apps on the market from many of the industry big players (e.g. Apple, Samsung, Google) as well as newer banks like bunq, who offer a fully-mobile banking experience. Several individual stores have also introduced their own apps. All the major Dutch banks (ABN AMRO, ING, Rabobank) have recently updated their apps to include easy IDEAL checkouts at hundreds of thousands of shops throughout the country.

An alternative to cash and cards: mobile payments

Mobile payments are financial transactions that are conducted through a mobile phone or other mobile device (e.g. a tablet). It is an alternative to cash, cheques, credit and debit cards, where people can transfer money, pay utility supplies and store bills, and even send money to each other with a few simple taps of their smartphone.

There are various different types of mobile phone payment systems on the market. Most of them involve mobile payment apps, also known as mobile wallets, or digital wallets, which can be installed on your phone to allow you to make easy payments in shops or online. These apps are usually:
• linked directly to your bank accounts, allowing your phone to operate as a credit or debit card;
• able to make contactless payments in stores using technology such as near field communication (NFC); and
• able to make immediate payments to friends or family, with many apps now using mobile phone numbers or email addresses rather than bank account numbers to make payments.

The growth in mobile payments has gone hand-in-hand with the rise in mobile phone banking. Customers can now get banking apps on their phones, enabling them to do all of their banking – paying bills or transferring money, for example – from their mobile device.

The advantages of mobile banking and mobile payments

It’s quicker

Transactions are far quicker, with just a tap on your smartphone rather than messing around with cash. Mobile phone banking means no queueing in branches and immediate access to your account. Even opening an account with a mobile bank such as bunq can be done in minutes.

Less hassle

Everything can be done from one device – there is no need to visit the ATM, visit a bank branch, search around for your wallet or keep track of cash. There’s also the added convenience of being able to use mobile/email contacts rather than bank numbers with some providers, as well as the benefit of being able to access services 24/7 rather than only during normal work hours.

More choice

With so many payment and banking apps out there, customers have a wider selection of brands from which to choose. This means not just more products and services, but the chance to seek out smaller, independent providers with unique offerings if you would like an alternative to established names on the market.

Mobile phone banking security: safe and reliable

Although there have been consumer fears over mobile phone banking security, making payments and doing banking through mobile devices is extremely safe and secure.

Smartphone payment systems frequently use biometric data, such as fingerprint ID, which is more secure than a PIN or signatures. Additionally, mobile payment systems are heavily encrypted so there is no compromise to security levels. In fact, using your smartphone to bank and make payments is actually the most secure way to manage your finances.